UK households would pay extra to have bins emptied privately

According to, seven out of ten say they want private bin collections to replace council services.
Thomas Max Müller,

A majority of householders say they’d pay to have their bins emptied by a private company instead of by their local councils if it meant a clean and reliable service.

But there’s a catch, a national waste management company says – householders would demand a discount on their council tax for it.

UK based said that the public is becoming increasingly frustrated by unreliable council services which have been stripped back to the bone, saying they’d rather pay to have the job done “properly”.

“We spoke to hundreds of people about this,” spokesperson Mark Hall said, “And the one thing we heard again and again is that local authorities appear to be providing the minimum service they can get away with, and nothing else.”

In a survey of 4012 householders carried out by Business Waste:

  • 51% said they would pay for a private collection to replace the council service
  • This rises to 73% is the private collection comes with a Council Tax rebate
  • 95% say they have had a missed collection in the last year
  • 98% they have had rubbish left behind or left in the street in the last 12 months
  • Only 3% say their bin is ever put back in the right place

Hall says the number one complaint from householders is of rubbish left behind because operators are having to race round increasingly lengthy rounds, which means there’s no time to clear up after spills. “There’s so much pressure on the operators of council bin rounds because of slashed budgets, and that means they have to drop the usual courtesies,” he says.

One council bin contractor, speaking anonymously told “Our rounds our now twice as long as they were a few years ago. And under the new scheme, we’ve got fewer people on the lorries.  “We literally have to run around to get the job done on time, and we can’t stop to pick up mess or look for bins in obscure places.”

A missed collection is a huge frustration to householders, and that’s one of the reasons they would pay extra for reliable, weekly services which come with service guarantees, says ‘s Mark Hall.

Private collections would have to be the subject of service guarantees, and operators adhering to a code of practice that means they provide a full service or nothing at all, says Hall. There might also have to be a rule that whole streets have to sign up, to prevent what could turn into “turf wars”, he says.

“The last thing we’d want is fly-by-night companies coming in and cutting corners,” he says. “They’d have to provide a full service from doorstep to recycling centre to final disposal with all the right licences and qualified staff. “That means not just anybody with a bin lorry can jump on to earn a quick buck.”

Hall thinks the time is ripe for this idea to be given worthy consideration. “It’s not about private profits for waste companies,” he says, “It’s about doing the job, and doing it right.”


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